Tag Archives: Digital Twinning

 

Mining companies know all too well how expensive and dangerous the industry can be, and the demand for safer and more efficient training and procedures is increasing year on year.

The good news is that technology is keeping up with this demand and mining companies are starting to welcome and integrate innovative tech into their procedures.

From virtual reality training sessions to 3D mapping and printing, mining technology is helping streamline complex processes and tasks while reducing safety risks and costs.

In this article, we’re going to look at 7 mining technology innovations that are driving the mining industry forward and the benefits they bring.

1. Mining Drones

Drones have been around for the best part of a decade now and have become popular pieces of mining technology to access hard-to-reach areas and sites.

Drones are transforming the way operators map and survey mining sites. Surveying and mapping sites on foot are often expensive and time-consuming, but drones can relay geophysical imagery and data to surveyors quickly and efficiently without putting anyone’s safety at risk.

Another obvious benefit of drones is the time saved surveying sites and carrying out inspections. Operators are able to use drones to conduct visual inspections of sites and equipment as well as provide surveying and mapping data.

Companies like Exyn Technologies use drones to map out a 3-dimensional landscape of underground mines without compromising employee safety. These drones deliver hyper-accurate, survey-grade 3D maps in real-time. Plus, they’re able to navigate mines with little to no light with ease.

To learn more about Exyn technology and how it compares to more traditional methods, check out our study of Mining’s Top Innovations.

2. Virtual Reality

One of the best implementations of VR in the mining industry is how it’s being used to train employees. Mining companies can now use VR to provide immersive and realistic training simulations to allow employees to practice and navigate complex tasks in a safe and controlled environment.

VR also allows miners to virtually explore mining sites without needing to physically be there. Again, this negates the safety issues concerning visiting dangerous mining sites, but also saves money on travel expenses and transporting cumbersome equipment around the world.

Employees can practice using hyper-realistic machinery through VR, allowing them to experience operating heavy and often complex machinery off-site. This means trainees can learn and make mistakes on the job without severe consequences.

3. 3D Printing

3D printing looks to have a bright future in the mining industry. The ability to print and replicate complex and often expensive mining equipment can save companies a small fortune.

For example, if a piece of equipment becomes damaged during use, companies can use 3D printing to replace this equipment quickly and with incredible accuracy. Sourcing mining equipment is often costly and can take time to deliver specific equipment to mining sites. With 3D printing, both of these issues are negated.

While 3D printing is seeing a steady introduction to the mining industry, the potential it brings could be game-changing. Being able to instantly find, print and install specific tools or parts onsite to damaged machinery can reduce lead times and negate the need to transport expensive equipment to remote sites.

Plus, you don’t need a warehouse to store these parts – as every part can be stored digitally!

4. 3D Mapping

3D mapping is a form of mining technology that provides extremely accurate and detailed digital representations of mining sites.

For example, 3D mapping tools can highlight and pinpoint important areas for excavation, without wasting time and valuable resources. Additionally, it isn’t limited to just mining sites – 3D mapping can also be used to map quarries, waste deposits and transportation routes.

According to the statistics, the global 3D market is expected to grow from $3.8 billion in 2020 to $7.6 billion by 2025.

5. Artificial Intelligence

It would be an understatement to say that AI dominated the technology headlines of 2023. The introduction of ChatGPT, Midjourney and BingChat had (and continues to have) a massive impact on operational processes in almost every industry.

In the mining industry, AI is leveraging smart data and machine learning. Not only does this mean safer training and better mining processes, but it cuts the time to perform these tasks in half. This enables onsite engineers to make decisions faster and with more accuracy.

For example, AI is helping mining companies locate and extract valuable minerals with precision. Additionally, through advanced algorithms and data analysis, AI systems can identify optimal mining sites, predict potential resource deposits, and even guide exploration efforts with exceptional efficiency.

We’re already seeing how AI mining technology is aiding autonomous equipment like self-driving vehicles for tunneling excursions and optimizing drilling systems, and we’ll likely see more processes utilizing AI going into the future.

6. Automation

Automation is becoming increasingly popular in the mining world. Truckless conveyor-belt ore transport systems, subterranean electric vehicles and drones are some of the core automation shifts we’re seeing.

One of the biggest benefits of automation is that it allows mining companies to work around the clock without having to be physically present. By automating processes like ore delivery and transport, site monitoring and drilling and ventilation systems, miners do not have to jeopardize their health and safety by venturing into mines and handling hazardous materials and minerals.

Instead, miners can be trained on how to operate heavy machinery remotely from a control center above ground, providing a safer and more comfortable working environment.

Yes, time and resources will need to be invested in training miners on how to use this mining technology. However, the benefits far outweigh the cons. Miners face fewer health and safety risks, speed and efficiency will likely increase and in the long term the industry will experience significant cost savings.

7. Digital Twinning

Digital twinning allows mining companies to create a digital replica of their entire mining ecosystem. This includes mining equipment, geological formations and other relevant objects or assets.

By integrating data from sensors, IoT devices, and other sources, digital twinning provides a dynamic and detailed simulation that mirrors the physical reality of the mining site.

The main aim of digital twinning in the mining industry is to improve decision-making and operational efficiency. Digital twinning also allows miners to simulate various conditions and assess the impact of different variables on operations. This approach means fewer safety risks for employees.

Digital twinning is changing how mining companies do things. It lets them make a digital copy of their entire mining setup, including their equipment, geology, and processes, in an instance.

In essence, digital twinning is making mining operations more efficient, sustainable, and competitive.

Conclusion

The mining industry has been calling out for more innovative and efficient ways to streamline their processes and improve the safety conditions of their employees.

The mining technology at their disposal today is revolutionizing traditional mining processes and more companies will inevitably invest in this new technology.

Improved productivity, enhanced safety and substantial cost savings are just a few of the benefits technology brings to the mining industry. In the next few years, mining companies will need to adopt this technology into their processes to stay competitive and meet the growing demands for sustainability and efficiency.

Embracing these technological advancements is not just a choice; it’s a necessity for the mining industry to thrive in the evolving landscape.

*This article is written by Sophie Bishop. Sophie is an experienced freelance writer with a passion for sharing insights and her experience within the health and safety sector. Sophie aims to spread awareness through her writing around issues to do with healthcare, wellbeing and sustainability within the industry and is looking to connect with an engaged audience. Contact Sophie via her website: https://sophiebishop.uk/.

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The trend towards automation is progressing all the time. With the advent of COVID-19 creating employment concerns amid a changing workforce, the role of automation in manufacturing has taken on new meaning.

Now, robotics looks to automate processes for the increased safety and productivity of the modern factory. There are many ways that automation trends are reshaping the industry. Here, we will look at a list of these trends and the ways they are altering global trade.

From faster processes to 3D printing innovations, automation in manufacturing looks much different than it has in past decades. Here’s what you should know.

1. Making Processes Faster and More Efficient

One report found that automation at a macroeconomic scale could increase global manufacturing GDP between 0.8% and 1.4% per year. While those numbers might seem small, the overall impact in economic growth is substantial.

Paired with increased productivity, automation offers the following benefits:

Currently, substantial losses in production time and energy occur in fighting human error and clunky procedures. With automated systems, efficiency can be integrated amidst better processes for fighting energy drains like friction. This translates to potentially millions of dollars in increased revenues for manufacturers that adopt automation technology.

2. Collecting Data Through Digital Twinning

Improving manufacturing processes is possible through the trend of digital twinning changing the manufacturing landscape. Digital twinning involves virtually modeling the manufacturing process alongside the real-world system. Doing so allows companies to gather valuable data and models for simulation and experimentation.

With 50% of large manufacturers set to utilize this tech by 2021, digital twinning represents the future of manufacturing. And for good reason. Up to 30% of improvements in product quality and product cycle time are possible thanks to digital twinning, allowing companies to pair data with experimentation for revenue-boosting results.

3. Increasing Safety Through Robotics

The emergence of COVID-19 changed the way businesses manage a workspace. This is true as well for factory floors where workers have to adopt sanitation and social distancing measures. Robotics allows for the safe implementation of these policies without increased human risk.

A series of roles are now increasingly being filled by robots to allow for greater safety procedures. These include:

With sanitation and dangerous work now being filled by robots, factory workers can enjoy a greater level of safety. This not only increases productivity for manufacturers but reduces liability risks and costs as well.

4. Focusing on Logistics for Better Processes

Artificial intelligence. The term might invoke fear in movie-going circles, but the integration of AI in manufacturing to enhance the logistics of every process is reshaping the industry.

AI relies on the accumulation of manufacturing data to provide streamlined logistics workflow. This means sensors, digital twinning, analytics, and more to truly understand and predict factory success. With each new data set, an AI can better learn a system, inform technicians of when maintenance is needed, and build better models for an effective process.

With all the implications for manufacturing improvement, AI is one trend of industrial robotics sure to last long into the future.

Automation manufacturing positively impacted by 3D printing

5. Changing the Manufacturing Process Through 3D Printing

Automation of manufacturing is changing through the increasing use of additive processes, such as 3D printing. This automation trend has a huge impact on manufacturing of all types of products, with a wide range of materials including sustainable and plant-based options possible.

3D printing uses a digital blueprint to then produce a product from the bottom up, bit-by-bit. By building in this way, the efficiency and durability of parts can be maximized even when using alternative materials. This process means better products at potentially cheaper production costs as the technology improves. The ability for sustainable materials to be substituted in production also has beneficial implications for the environment.

The Changing Landscape of Manufacturing

As the world integrates new automation technology, manufacturers look to reap the benefits. From more efficient practices to better building techniques, manufacturing in the modern world has made substantial headway towards safety and sustainability. These technological trends enhance the safety and productivity of any manufacturing workforce, but the question has to be asked—how will automation affect displaced workers?

Currently, humans and robotics are working side-by-side to deliver better solutions. However, only time will tell how workers adapt to increased automation in the new landscape of manufacturing technologies.

This article is written by guest author Beau Peters. View more of Beau’s articles here.

 

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